Global climate change means that recently discovered ancient forests in Canada's extreme north could one day return, according to Alexandre Guertin-Pasquier of the University of Montreal's Department of Geography, who is presenting his findings at the Canadian Paleontology Conference in Toronto today.
This shows the Alexandre Guertin-Pasquier base camp on Bylot Island in 2009.
Credit: Alexandre Guertin-Pasquier
"According to the data model, climate conditions on Bylot Island will be able to support the kinds of trees we find in the fossilized forest that currently exist there, such as willow, pine and spruce. I've also found evidence of a possible growth of oak and hickory near the study site during this period.," Guertin-Pasquier said. "Although it would of course take time for a whole forest to regrow, the findings show that our grandchildren should be able to plant a tree and watch it grow."The fossilized forest found on Bylot Island in Nunavut is between 2.6 and 3 million years old according to estimations based on the presence of extinct species and on paleomagnetic analyses. Paleomagentic analysis involves looking at how the Earth's magnetic field has affected the magnetic sediment in rocks – like a compass, they turn to follow the magnetic poles. Scientists can use this information to date rocks as the history of the movement of the magnetic poles is relatively well known.
The University of Montreal is known officially as Université de Montréal.
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